Saturday, January 25, 2014

January 24, 2014 - MTC

I honestly can't believe that I'm halfway through my stay here! In one week, I get my travel plans, with all the itinerary and tickets. This is becoming way too real. In the last week, a couple of our teachers have been talking a lot about just life in the field, and the mission itself. And while I don't want to sound too proud of my fortunes, Cebu Mission is the place to be. Brother Pasikala spent a ton of time in Dumaguete, on Negros, and he said that was the place to be, that it's a super great place, and Negros is generally cooler than Cebu and Bohol. So hope for plenty of time there, for sure. But they've all been telling us all about where to get the best ties and all these people in the city where you can get custom made suit for like $20, and just that you can get anything you want there. Everything they were saying really just sounded like what Dad said: it's the free market in action.  And they've also told is all about the many ways to kill a rat and other various animalia. It's definitely a whole new world I'm heading in to. 

The language is just getting better. Our teachers keep talking about different principles and stuff, and how it make sense in their Cebuano mind. One of these things is Time Particles, which sound like some kind of super cool thing, but which just don't really remotely make sense in English. If you say something "pa", then it's something that hasn't happened yet, or is still going to happen, and something "na" is something that is going to happen anymore or something like that. It just really kind of doesn't make sense, but for a fleeting moment, I began to really understand it and it was like the entire language was starting to come together before my eyes. I just can't wait for that to actually happen, and I'll just understand what people are saying, not just the simple gospel stuff the teachers say now. One of the learning tools we have is the TRC, where once a week we have people from the area who know Cebuano come in, and we just talk to them and teach a lesson. So it's basically all just RM's, but still, it was an awesome experience last week, because we were able to hear the language how actual people speak it, not just the teachers' stuff. It was really cool. Also, this phonetic language is killing my spelling. I've noticed in writing that sometimes I really have to focus on the spelling of English words. This is somewhat concerning.

This is definitely a place of great spirit. I can really feel this, and I've seen this in the growth that has happened in all of my zone. We've really grown together, and we're starting to get through this. On the halfway mark, Elder Crandall and I switched seniority, so now I'm our junior companion. Since the other companionship of elders has the zone leaders and a district leader, that makes me the lowest man in the zone! But that's okay, I can focus more on learning EVERYTHING. But it's really been great. For Tuesday's devotional, the choir sang this arrangement of Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer, from an Ensign contest a few years ago. You should find it, it was really an amazing song.

I just want to share a story. The other day at lunch, I was sitting alone, waiting for my people to show up. (our whole zone usually sits together,) when this little senior sister, Sister Mead, asked to sit next to me. I said sure, but I was kind of not feeling up to conversation. But We started talking, and she is serving in Los Angeles with a group of elders going out in a program that's just starting, teaching Iranian Farsi-speaking people in the States. She said her mission was fulfilling her Patriarchial blessing, which said that she would teach her people the Gospel. So she told her story of her father, who had read the New Testament and decided that he wanted to live like Christ. Then she, growing up in Iran, went to Catholic School, and learned all that, but it wasn't enough. So she moved to Germany, where she learned a lot about Protestants, but it wasn't enough. She ended up in Geneva in this lesson taught by missionaries, and she wanted to know more, but they couldn't actively proselyte because of their local laws. But she eventually got a Book of Mormon, and reading it, knew it was more than just a history, as they said. She told me that she knew how it felt, to have one's soul hunger for truth, to want and need to know more, and that there were millions of people across the world just like her. We have a map in the central building of all the missions, and the big grey area between the Sahara and China where there are no missionaries is juts foreboding and incredible, there are literally billions of people who have absolutely no access to the gospel. But the work that Sister Mead is doing is helping to break that. The effect her mission to Persian people could, and likely will have, was incredible to me. 

I know that I have been prepared for this work, and I know that I am here for a reason, on the Lord's errand. I am very thankful for all the help and support I have received from my family throughout my life. 

Elder Adam Dunford

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